The manipulation tactics currently at work shaping society all have one thing in common: They’re the handiwork of an enemy who seeks to destroy mankind. Certainly, we can see each of these at work in the physical realm, but their visible manifestations are the result of a spiritual war being waged in hidden places (Ephesians 6:12). Ultimately, the enemy is not one of flesh and blood, but is “the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil” (Revelation 20:2). Perhaps the best manipulation tactic the enemy and his agents employ is the fact that he is patient. He has had, literally, all the time in the world to culminate his plan. Understand that while his aim is to destroy every soul over the course of time, he is playing with an end-game strategy in mind. This means that we must be vigilant, and we must teach our children to be so as well. Each generation serves as the watchmen for the next. What we allow to slide will escalate in subsequent years; what our children see us regarding complacently will be viewed as acceptable and soon become the norm. It’s vital that we avoid laziness regarding the ways the masses will be deceived. Complacency in such circumstances is similar to what we’re told will lead us to poverty: “Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall they poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:33–34).
Conditioning is often allowed to simmer in the background for many years before its damage comes to fruition. Consider what we mentioned earlier about postmodernism. We’ve only seen the full impact of the changes it’s made to our thinking over the last several decades, but the seeds have been germinating for hundreds of years. We may think nothing bad will happen “on our watch.” However, when we ignore what’s going on in the background or fail to address the peripheral conditioning we’re subjected to, we can almost guarantee that something bad will happen on our children’s watch. This is only part of the reason it’s so important for us to “train up” our kids “in the way [they] should go…[so that] when [they are] old, [they] will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). They are the guardians for future generations.
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One morning, while getting ready to begin my research for the day, I (Allie Henson) received an email from a digital-coupon company that advertises local businesses running discount deals. The offer boasted 90 percent off the tuition of an online course that teaches witchcraft, magick, curses, and spells—with many of these “skills” specifically tied to hurting or attracting other people. Highlights of the courses included chakra healing, interacting with spirit guides, astral projection, and polarizing energy, and the promotion piece placed great emphasis on using rituals to impact sexual energy, and vice versa. All this, and all for only nineteen dollars! In world of people who lack discernment regarding the powers of evil, our children can dabble in such occult activity without purchasing so much as an Ouija board. Things like this are available all around them, while the reality of precisely who they’re dabbling with is blurred.
For example, the television series Lucifer humanizes Satan, painting him as a guy who got tired of “ruling hell,” so he came to earth for a break, whereupon he assumes the human form and the name Lucifer Morningstar. In this portrayal, he’s just a regular guy who isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, he helps people, is capable of sympathy, and is generally more morally inclined than many humans. He’s characterized as being a weary but necessary component in the grand-scale plan of God (whom he refers to as “my father” throughout the series)—an essential antagonist without whom God’s story of good vs. evil can be allowed to play out. In general, the series depicts Satan as a guy who received a bad rap thousands of years ago, who is tired of being pigeonholed into his hellish role, and who is largely misunderstood. Further, the tortures of hell are downplayed in this program. This is a great example of one of the sneakiest tactics of all: asserting that Satan either doesn’t exist or that, even if he does, he’s not alive and working in our current world—today. And sadly, the strategy is working…
I (Allie Henson) learned about this show’s portrayal of Satan while talking with a couple of teenagers who, after watching it, were having a discussion about who Satan is. One asserted that since Lucifer was an angel of light before he was the devil, it was likely that he actually wasn’t all bad. The other maintained that he was indeed evil. What really bothered me about this particular conversation was the fact that these were both church-going teens. Regardless of whether the church leaders hadn’t addressed this issue or whether the teen who seemed confused about Lucifer’s evil nature had simply missed that sermon (or hadn’t paid attention if he had been present), we can’t speculate. Suffice it to say, there are likely teens in your church as well who think that Satan is a fable.
At the same time, the world is conditioned to hold a humorous or dismissive stance about the devil’s existence entirely. After all, if “my truth” says that he doesn’t exist, then anything perceived as evil must be the manifestation of someone’s guilt, self-proclaimed moral compass, or even the gap between conflicting ethical boundaries. And since these are subjective topics, revealing moral shortcomings or sinful acts becomes quickly classified as matters others need to “just deal with” or “get over.”
Simultaneously, while many deny that he even exists, Satan somehow manages to keep enough personhood about him that he continues to be a subject of religious fascination. Many see him as a source of power, a place to point the finger to escape culpability (“the devil made me do it”), or a somewhat fantastical being who might be capable of evil deeds, but who isn’t present in any relevant way—here and now—impacting humanity’s everyday lives. In the meantime, dabbling in interactions with him is trivialized and normalized.
Putting It Together
By now, you’re familiar with many of the manipulation tactics used regularly on a large scale. The agendas behind such tactics range from selling products to promoting acceptance of ideas and policies that should incite outrage. By carefully shaping the mindset of the masses, matters that were once unspeakable become commonplace.
The mass response to the movie Cuties, as outlined in the previous chapter, is encouraging, in that we see that there are a number of individuals who will stand against the sexualization of our youth. However, we also see that the sensationalism it attracted serves as its own type of conditioning. After all, the conversation about sexualizing our youth isn’t just taking place in religious circles and the objections haven’t come solely from conservative Christians; it’s the focus of much discussion among many members of broader segments of society who represent all perspectives—including those with a more liberal worldview. However, such blatant, eroticism regarding minors, alongside the film’s lack of resolution or conviction toward solution, has the potential to leave the public confused regarding the real motivation behind this movie. (This is part of the perpetual mind games played on the populace we’ve discussed in this chapter.)
Because of the filmmakers’ stated position of advocating for young people, some may eventually question their own outrage as they begin to wonder who the “good guys” really are (gaslighting). They may even sympathize with the film’s producers, assuming that if their intentions were pure, they deserve the benefit of the doubt (as mentioned, humans are wired toward reconciliation and thus feel obligated to compromise). At this, they may find the subsequent “attack” on filmmakers by righteous individuals justified, yet, still somehow regrettable. In a careful study of all that’s gone on with the film, we can see that it started as an example of foot-in-the-door manipulation: An attempt was made to introduce the idea of sexualizing minors with the expectation that it would simmer in the backs of the viewers’ mind and eventually become accepted as a part of society. Because of the public’s outrage, this film likewise has properties of door-in-the-face manipulation: It drew a heightened response that, after fostering sympathy, leads to a smaller “dose” of the controversial subject matter being accepted. In future instances, the sexualization might be less blatant, but the reaction should be comparative relief rather than outrage.
All the while, the conversation lingers around the filmmakers’ real intentions—whether they meant to behaviorally condition our public to embrace the sexual exploitation of minors or motivate them to whistle-blow on the loss of our youth’s innocence—our populace becomes more accepting of it. Understand that these authors are not saying the conversation shouldn’t happen, nor are we stating that awareness is a bad idea (it’s vital!). We are, however, saying that whenever new mindfulness is wrought upon a public, we must be watching for smaller concessions regarding the same topic that may be in the periphery. After all, the movie itself derived much notoriety from the scandal, and there is much power involved with controversy. As all arguments regarding the issue become polished by the sensationalism provided by Cuties, human wiring toward compromise could cause some to question the credibility of the outrage itself.
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This is where we must remember the original issues that drove the debate in the first place. There are clues that reveal the true motives behind the release of this film. First of all, the close-up, spread-eagle camera shots and partial nudity of both over- and under-aged females shown were not necessary, if the film’s point was in fact to raise consciousness about sexual exploitation. Second, the trailer and promotion of the film presented it as a “coming-of-age” story; nothing was mentioned to let the viewing audience know Cuties was an effort to raise awareness about the sexualization of our youth. Additionally, the conclusion of the movie was quite the opposite of how a “whistle-blowing” movie would have ended (as these authors have explained). Further, many more than just extreme conservatives found this production exploitive. As we said earlier, if the ending of the movie had motivated its audience to take problem-solving action, offered a moral lesson, or even fostered feelings of outrage toward the problem, it could then appropriately claim intentions of raising awareness. But since the movie’s conclusion leaves viewers with the impression that the young characters will—on their own—suddenly regain innocence, its message is clear: This sexually charged behavior among teens is normal, will run its course, and will require no parental intervention. In this case, it’s not a stretch to conclude that there could be an agenda behind the production and surrounding controversy. (The normalization of pedophilia will be discussed in a later chapter).
This Is Happening Now
As we’ve said, the manipulation strategies we’ve described are playing out in society at this very moment. Though many are unable to see it, each method is being employed to drive our culture into directions that—until now—only science fiction or other media has dared to go. If you look at the world around you and feel as though we are moving toward the End Times quickly, it’s not your imagination. The hands that shape the attitudes and behaviors of the population are fiercely at work behind the scenes, making great strides every day toward ushering in the destruction of mankind. When we examine the events that tore potentially irreparable holes in our culture during 2020, we recall a year of lockdowns, riots, and global disruption of all types. Were these events random, or were they the consequences of a calculated plan that has spread a web of deception across all nations as a push to bring in a global governmental regime? These are questions we’ll take a closer look at in the upcoming pages.
UP NEXT: Calculated Chaos
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